## Comment Re:Mass and Weight are different (Score 2) 78

force equals *mass* times acceleration.

... the acceleration would be the same but the force experienced by Curiosity's tires would be ~3x larger (ignoring any shock absorption).

You do have a point -- I don't agree with some of the other responders who talk about traction forces being smaller as well. Just to make it clear: what you say applies to a cart on wheels, having constant horizontal velocity and approaching a bump in an otherwise flat surface. A larger mass of the cart will result in a larger force at the wheels the moment the cart hits the bump, regardless of gravity.

However, this force is roughly F = m v^2/L, where v is the horizontal velocity of the cart, L is the travel of the suspension, and m is the moving mass. The moving mass can be just a single wheel; in that case L is the leeway in the tire rubber (less than a millimeter), or m can refer to the entire car, with L the travel of the wheel suspension.

Now, the issue of inertia is only relevant if the instantaneous extra force is larger than the gravitational force. Given that this Mars Rover has a maximum speed of 0.025 m/s, the maximum inertia-driven acceleration is about 1 m/s^2, even assuming only 0.5 mm of suspension travel. This is much less than the gravitational acceleration (10 m/s^2); therefore inertia does not make a significant difference in the wear on the wheels.